Who’s who in ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens in theaters December 15. It tells the story of a team of rebels tasked with stealing the plans to the Death Star. These are the same plans uploaded into R2-D2 by Princes Leia in the beginning of Star Wars: A New Hope. When I was a kid, it was simply called Star Wars.

In anticipation of seeing Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, I’m reading the Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel. The book serves as a prequel to the movie. To properly experience the book, I wanted to familiarize myself with the central characters in the movie. When I read a book, I usually imagine and lock in what a character looks like pretty quickly. I wanted to make sure that if a character appears in the book, I don’t imagine them looking different than the actors who play them.

Here’s a spoiler-free breakdown of the main characters in the movie and who they’re being played by.

Jyn Erso

Who's who in 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' - Bent Corner
The main character in the movie. Estranged daughter of Galen Erso. A streetwise delinquent with mad fighting skills. Played by Felicity Jones.

Cassian Andor

Who's who in 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' - Bent Corner
A by-the-book Rebel intelligence officer tasked with keeping Jyn Erso in check. Played by Diego Luna.

Galen Erso

Who's who in 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' - Bent Corner
A brilliant scientist and estranged father of Galen Erso. Played by Mads Mikkelsen.

Orson Krennic

Who's who in 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' - Bent Corner
Director of the Advanced Weapons Research Division of the Imperial military. Responsible for the security of the Death Star project. Commands a squad of Death Troopers. Played by Ben Mendelsohn

Saw Gerrera

Who's who in 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' - Bent Corner

Seen as an ultimate rebel who often pushes the envelope of what is considered moral and just by Alliance leadership. Played by Forest Whitaker.

K-2SO

Who's who in 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' - Bent Corner

A reprogrammed Imperial security droid now loyal to the Alliance. Voiced by Alan Tudyk.

Chirrut Imwe

Who's who in 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' - Bent Corner

Blind warrior monk. Very spiritual. Not a Jedi, but he believes in their ways. Played by Donnie Yen.

Baze Malbus

Who's who in 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' - Bent Corner

Devoted protector to Chirrut Imwe. Not spiritual. Believes in the power of a good blaster over that of a hokey religion. Played by Jiang Wen.

Bodhi Rook

Who's who in 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' - Bent Corner

Abrasive and hot-headed, but a skilled pilot. Played by Riz Ahmed.

Death Troopers

Who's who in 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' - Bent Corner

The elite variant of the Galactic Empire’s stormtrooper. By “elite,” I’m assuming that means they can actually hit what they shoot at. They wear black armor and look super cool.

‘Wonder Woman’ official trailer #2

The second trailer for the upcoming Wonder Woman movie dropped, and like the first trailer, it doesn’t disappoint.

Although I enjoyed Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice more than most people, I believe that best part of the movie was Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. When I first learned she landed the part of the Amazonian Princess, I thought it was a dumb choice. I thought she was too skinny to be the badass that I know Wonder Women to be. Could Gal Gadot play a princess? Sure. How about an Amazonian? Not so much.

Or so I thought. Gal Gadot can radiate a sense of strength and power that is surprising for someone of her slight stature. Although she looks to be too skinny to be a threat to men, one only has to watch her slow walk towards the German trench, to know that a bunch of Huns are about to meet up with their dead relatives in Hell courtesy of a skinny girl and her sword.

If anything, Gal Gadot’s thin physique makes Wonder Woman even scarier when you bear witness to the absolute carnage she can unleash with her sword, shield, and lasso.

I’m looking forward to seeing Wonder Woman. It hits theaters June 2, 2017.

Scarlet Johansson in ‘Ghost in the Shell’

Paramount and Dreamworks Pictures released the first image from the upcoming movie Ghost in the Shell. It’s a live-action version of the popular anime of the same name. The image shows Scarlet Johansson in the starring role of cyborg Major Kusanagi.

In the anime, Major Kusanagi is Japanese. Scarlet Johansson is not Japanese. Some people are bothered by this fact.

The director on the film is Rupert Sanders. He’s the hack who directed Snow White and the Huntsman, a truly awful movie. It featured Kristen Stewart in the title role and Charlize Theron as the Evil Queen. The movie didn’t work for all sorts of reasons, but one of the most glaring issues in the film was the casting. Snow White is the most beautiful woman in all the land. This gets her in all sorts of trouble with the Evil Queen, who used to be the most beautiful woman in all the land.

In what universe is Kristen Stewart more beautiful than Charlize Theron?

Kristen Stewart always has a look on her face like she just smelled Adam Carolla’s socks after some vigorous unicycling. Charlize Theron looks like Charlize Theron. At no time in the film was Kristen Stewart made to look more attractive or Charlize Theron made to look less attractive. We know Charlize Theron can be made less attractive.

It turned out Rupert Sanders was fornicating with Kristen Stewart during production of the film, so his judgment was probably… clouded.

Getting back to Scarlet Johansson playing Major Kusanagi. I don’t care that she’s not Asian. To me, it’s not a big deal. When the live-action movie based on Attack on Titan was released with an all Asian cast, I don’t remember anyone complaining. In the anime version, the characters, all except one, are western.

Attack on Titan
Attack on Titan

I don’t think this movie should even be made. The original anime is a classic. Not everything needs a movie version. In fact, most things don’t.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

I finally got around to seeing Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice yesterday. I was going to see it opening weekend, but I allowed the negative reviews from film critics to cloud my judgement and change me mind. Big mistake. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is not a bad film. Far from it. I enjoyed it greatly.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is not an action comedy. There’s not much humor in this film and that’s the way it should be. If you need humor in your comic book movies, then I suggest you stick to Marvel Comics films. Even though the characters in those movies engage in brutal combat in densely populated areas, undoubtedly leading to the death of scores of innocent civilians, they still have time to yuck it up.

I thought Ben Affleck made a fantastic Batman, better than Christian Bale. Henry Cavill’s portrayal of Superman/Clark Kent is on par with that of the late Christopher Reeve. Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman was surprisingly good. When I first heard she would be playing the part of the Amazonian warrior princess, I thought she was a bit too thin for the part. I was wrong. She made a fine Wonder Woman. 

The one and only issue I had with the move was Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor. He was annoyingly awful. It was as though he thought Lex Luthor should be played as a cross between Heath Ledger’s Joker and Brad Pitt’s character in the movie 12 Monkey’s. I just didn’t understand the character. It’s not like Eisenberg doesn’t posses the acting chops to play Lex Luthor. Anyone who watched his performance as Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network should know he has the ability to play the part of Lex Luthor. Zuckerberg and Luthor are not the different. Not really.

The most notable villain with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice wasn’t Lex Luthor , it was any critic who unfairly gave this film a negative review. The movie review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes shows Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice at rotten with 29%.

That’s absurd and it’s dishonest.

What is with all the Kylo Ren merchandise?

I finally got around to seeing Star Wars: The Force Awakens this past weekend. I enjoyed it. In fact, as I write this, I believe it’s the best Star Wars movie ever made.

I may change my mind about that after I allow more time to pass and I have more time to place things in proper context. It is better than those horrible prequel movies.

The one thing I do not understand about the Star Wars: The Force Awakens has nothing to do with the movie itself, but has to do with the marketing of the movie. Who decided to make Kylo Ren such a focal point of the merchandise?

Kylo Ren is a terrible, awful person. I am not going to give away any spoilers, but let me just say that because of what he did in the movie, Kylo Ren is my most hated character from the entire Star Wars universe, and that includes George the Lucas.

Kylo Ren is worse than the Stormtroopers who murdered Uncle Lars and Aunt Beru. Kylo Ren is worse than the Death Star crewmembers who destroyed Alderaan.

Kylo Ren is worse than any of them.

Why then would I want a t-shirt with the image of Kylo Ren on it? Why would I want a Star Wars calendar where three of the months feature a photo of Kylo Ren? Why would I want a Kylo Ren Funko Pop! figure?

KyloRenFunko

To be honest, if I saw someone walking around wearing a Kylo Ren t-shirt, a part of me would want to punch them in the throat.

So no, I do not want any Kylo Ren merch because I watched the movie. I not only got choked up in the theater when Kylo Ren did what he did, I almost get choked up even now just thinking about it.

Don’t tell me ‘Birdman’ was the best movie of 2014

I guess the 2015 Oscars had a real anti-superhero vibe to it. I wouldn’t know first-hand because I didn’t watch it. The Oscars have become totally irrelevant to me. I think they’ve always been a poor indicator of greatness, it just took me a while to realize it. For instance, according to the members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the organization whose members vote for Oscar winners, the movie Shakespeare in Love was a better movie than Saving Private Ryan.

There’s a term for people who believe things like that, they’re called crack addicts.

This year’s batch of Best Picture nominees was a real head-scratcher. Missing from the nominations was Guardians of the Galaxy, by far the best movie I watched last year. I’m not alone. A lot of people went to the theaters to see Guardians of the Galaxy. It has a 91% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It grossed $774.2 million worldwide. Guardians of the Galaxy was a well-crafted and highly entertaining movie. The movie’s director, James Gunn, was able to bring life to a CGI talking racoon and a giant walking, sort-of-talking tree. The fact that it couldn’t even get a nomination for Best Picture speaks more about the absurdity of the Oscars than it does the greatness of Guardians of the Galaxy.

What’s even worse, Birdman, a terrible movie about a washed-up actor made famous for playing a superhero “birdman” in movies, trying to put on a Broadway play based on a short story by Raymond Carver, was not only nominated for Best Picture, it actually won.

Huh?

I thought Birdman was an overly pretentious, unnecessary middle finger to the genre of comic book movies. It was filmed in a way that made it look like one long continuous camera shot. At times, I was paying more attention to this stupid camera trick than I was to the performance of the actors in the scene, which is unfortunate because as awful as Birdman was, it had a great cast.

I’ll freely admit that Birdman was not for me. I was not its intended audience. To enjoy Birdman, you must hate superhero movies. I enjoy superhero movies, the ones that are well made. I enjoy a lot of movie genres.  Just don’t tell me that Birdman was the best movie of 2014. Because it wasn’t.

If you think Birdman was great, wait five years. In five years, even pretentious snobs will have forgotten about Birdman, just like they have already forgotten about 2011’s Best Picture Oscar winner The Artist.

the-artist-2011-a21

That didn’t even take five years.